writing practices

Using Intution In Your Writing

I'm reading a book that I'm going to review here as part of a blog tour for the author.  The book is called Second Sight, by Judith Orloff, and it is a memoir/self-help book.  I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, because the review isn't slated until March 1st.  I'll be writing much more about it then, but I wanted to discuss one aspect of the book today.

That aspect is intuition.Brain01

Judith Orloff, you see, is an intuitive psychiatrist.  She's no slouch, either.  She's been in private practice forever and is faculty at UCLA.  She's one of the towering figures in the area of uniting intuition and traditional medicine.  I wanted to read the book because I was interested in learning new ways to utilize intuition in my writing.

How much do you use intuition in your writing?

If you'd asked me that last week, I would have answered, a ton.  Because I believe strongly that establishing a regular practice of connection–one form of intuition–is the bedrock of all writing and creativity.  But after reading and copying one of Orloff's techniques yesterday, I think I've been missing out.

Orloff talks about remote viewing, which is essentially tuning into someone or something far away.  I could go on and on about some of the fascinating stories she tells, but I will save that for the actual review. (Brief aside: my Welsh friend Derek and I experimented with remote viewing just for the fun of it, sending photos back and forth and trying to hone in on what they contained.  The results were sometimes astoundingly accurate.)  She used remote viewing to try to tune into her patients and so forth.

I decided to play around with the process  she used, and after wasting spending a few minutes attempting to tune into friends near and far, I applied the process to the characters I'm working with in a new novel project.

Note how I call it a new novel project?  I'm not convinced it is going to be a novel yet, so I'm referring to it by a euphemism.  "Novel project" sounds a bit less certain than novel.  Anyway, I don't know much about my characters yet.  And I need to.  So I did a bit of remote viewing on them.  (I'm actually not sure if you can remote view characters who don't actually exist, but you get the point.)

Wow.  The results were amazing.  A stream of new information appeared, all of it relevant and useful.  I tried it again this morning, and yet more came through.  So I thought I'd share the process with you.  And let me be clear that this is my take on what Orloff described, as I've not yet gotten to the part where she explains how to do it.

1.  Get comfy, have pen and paper handy, and close your eyes.

2.  Take a few deep centering breaths to quiet your mind.

3.  Repeat the name of the character to yourself, or ask a question pertaining to your writing.

4.  Pay close attention to what comes up.  It might be visual images or words.

5.  Be patient, it can sometimes take awhile.  Sitting with the question or name is key.

6.  Open your eyes and make notes about what you got.

That's it, that's all you have to do.  It is not woo-woo in the least, just a simple process to utilize intuition to access information about your writing.  So give it a try and let me know what happens.

How else do you use intuition in your writing?  I'd love to hear about it.

When to Go Back, When to Let Go?

Today, I am answering another Burning QuestionJessica asked about finding the balance between going back to old work or letting it go.  Messyoffice She had read an author state that old work is the work of a younger you and you should move on from it.  On the other hand, she'd also read interviews with many an author who spoke of working on a novel for years, setting it aside and then returning to it.  So which approach is best?

Funny you should ask that, Jessica, as I've been spending spare moments working on organizing my office.  A huge part of that chore has been to go through all my old work.  I had stacks and folders and binders full of old stories, my MFA novel, and some half-completed projects.  I also had even higher stacks of notes pertaining to these stories.

I put this off for weeks.  I didn't want to face it, because I knew that it was time to let go of a lot of this stuff.  (Note the photo of some of it piled on my office floor yesterday.)  But finally, I screwed up my courage and did it.  I was able to be ruthless, dumping most of the notes into the recycling bin. This was, after all the point.  I'd been feeling as if all this old stuff was pinning me down, that the collective weight of the unfinished work was preventing new ideas from coming through.  So I chucked much of it.

However–and this is a big however–I carefully put a copy of every old story, and the novel, into binders. I wanted to honor the work that I've done, the writer that I've been.  As I did this, I re-read some of the stories.  Most of them felt to me very much like the work of a younger writer and parts of them made me cringe.  But some of them made me want to read more.  The glimmer of interest was still there.  If I were to write the story today, I'd write it much differently, perhaps even choose different characters, but the kernel that led me to the page was still compelling to me.  I re-read bits and pieces of that old novel and subsequently entertained myself in my journal this morning by writing about how I would re-imagine this book if I ever decided to go back to it.

So my answer to the question of when to let go and when to go back is, it depends. I think that this is gong to be a very personal decision, and while some people are perfectly comfortable going back to a project, others might not be.  But here are some guidelines to help you in that decision:

When you look back over an old story or project,

  • Is there a spark? 
  • Does your heart leap?
  • Does your brain immediately engage?
  • Are you hooked into the narrative in any way?

If the answer to any one of these questions is yes, you might want to spend a little time exploring the old story and see where it leads.  Just go back to it and see what happens, without expectation.  Fool around a bit and see how you feel.  If it doesn't go anywhere, fine, nothing is lost.  (That's the great thing about writing–nothing is ever lost.  Ever.)

But if you answered no to these questions, then the answer is clear.  There's no oomph left in the project for you.  File it away and forget about it.  Let the space it took up in your brain be filled with new stories, books and ideas.

So that is my take on when to let go and when to go back.  What do you guys think?  Anyone have any good or bad experiences with going back to an old project?

Say Hello To Your Critic

Since I seem to have been writing a lot lately about fear, and how to keep it at bay while you write, I thought it might be time for a little practical exercise.  This is one I present in my Writing Abundance workshop.  I did it for the first time years ago and have found the results of it–a way to deal with my critic–incredibly useful.Holidays 085

One of the problems that I often hear about is people being sidelined by perfectionism.  They get paralyzed because they are afraid they won’t do something right.  What this problem really is about is listening to your own inner critic, who constantly tells you that you are not good enough.  It is one thing to tell your critic to shut up, but it doesn’t really work.  Instead—meet your critic head on and disarm him.  Here’s how, by giving him and image and a name.  I met mine years ago.  His name is Patrick and he looks like a Will Ferrell in Elf, only small and not nearly so goofy and friendly.  Instead, Patrick is a bit of a prig.   Let’s go ahead and have you meet your critics and then I’ll tell you a trick to deal with her or him.

Meet Your Critic

1. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
2. Think about how you feel when you are being critical of your writing. 
3.  See if any images come up—color, energy, sound, smell?
4. Hold with whatever you are getting and let it come into form.  It might be an animal, a human-type creature, or something totally abstract
5. Now open your eyes and write.  More details will emerge as you do.   Write a description of what you saw and then see if you can give it a name.  Even a purple circle with the name Stan works.

Here’s the deal: after you have identified your critic, you can talk to him.  I made a pact with Patrick years ago: he lies quiet while I write rough drafts, write in my journal, and do free writing.  In return, as soon as I begin editing and rewriting, Patrick is up and at ‘em, ready to help me out.  Because that is where Patrick excels—at being critical.  Sometimes I forget about Patrick and he gets cranky, very cranky.  But then he jumps up and down to get my attention, generally when I am first starting on a project.  Then I remind him of our deal.  And then he's content to go hang out wherever it is he hangs out until I call him forth. 

So give it a try.  And report back if you feel so inclined.  I'd love to hear what shape your own critic takes.

Does it Really Take Talent?

Consider two writers:College_study_learnin_268377_l

Writer A, is unbelievably talented.  She writes prose so gorgeous and true and deeply felt it makes your hear break.  Not only that, she has that ineffable trait called a voice.  You'd recognize her writing anywhere and drop everything to read it.  In short, Writer A has talent.  Scads of it.  But Writer A also has a little problem.  She doesn't write much.  Once every month or so, if the spirit moves her, she picks up her pen and scrawls another page of beautiful prose.  And then she lets other things get in the way.  You know.  Important things like watching TV, and cleaning the sink, and thinking profound thoughts about how wonderful life is going to be once she has finished that novel.

Writer B, is just an old workhorse.  Every word he puts on the page he has earned.  This writer doesn't have a lot of natural talent.  His writing is pedestrian at best.  But our Writer B works hard.  He writes every day and reads and reads and reads.  Whenever he has a spare moment, he's working on improving his writing.  He immerses himself in words, whether writing or reading.  He's obsessed.  Sometimes he misses dinner, and often he doesn't turn his TV on for weeks on end.

So who do you think is going to be the most successful writer?

I'm betting on Writer B.  Why? Because Writer B is doing the work, sitting at his desk, writing.  You learn writing by writing.  You learn fluency and ease and flow by writing every day, which is why I'm always harping on it.  You figure out how the plot of your novel is going to work by actually working on the novel, or you learn more about your characters by writing more about them.

Talent will get you started, but it is the actual work that will allow you to succeed. 

There's an old debate in the writing world: can writing be taught?  Do you have to have talent to succeed?  I think that writing can be taught, and the teaching occurs in every word that you put on the page.  Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Outliers, says that mastery comes after you have spent 10,000 hours on something.  Yep.  It will probably take you 10,000 hours of writing to master the craft, though many people believe that writing takes a lifetime to master–which is why it never gets boring.  This 10,000 hour rule is why the brief-residency MFA programs or certificate writing programs are so great–because writers should be writing, not sitting in class talking about writing, fun as that is.  Writers learn to write by writing, natural talent or no.

And those with natural talent who write all the time will see their talent come to fruition.  But those with natural talent who don't write will never succeed.  Persistence will always prevail.

The moral of the story? Just keep writing.  It is all you need to do.

**This post came about as a result of a question asked in the comment sections on my post, Burning Questions.  Thanks, Walter, and I hope this helps.  Meanwhile, if any of you have any burning questions, hope on over to that post and ask away. 

And feel free to weigh in here on the topic of talent versus persistence.

Burning Questions, What Are Yours?

Years ago, in a critique group I was a part of, we used to talk about Burning Questions.Neon-burbank-tolucalake-817102-l

It began when I was working on a novel and got stuck halfway through.   I didn't know where I was going and couldn't see my way to the end, so I sat down and wrote a series of questions that I thought readers would be asking by that point in the novel.  Hence, Burning Questions.

The novel never did get finished.  It was no doubt doomed from the start because I plunged into it without a clear idea of where I wanted to go, or what, precisely, I wanted to say.  There's a big debate among novel writers as to whether one should outline or not outline.  People on each side of this debate hold their opinions as strongly as Birthers and Bush Bashers.  Wait, we no longer have Bush Bashers, do we.  Okay, call them liberals then.  You know what I mean.

I am a firm believer in doing whatever works.  If writing outlines works for you, then do it and don't worry about what those other folks say.  But if you like to be all loosey-goosey and let the writing and characters take you wherever they want, go for it. 

For me, what works in writing novels (and short fiction, come to think of it) is some kind of loose outline.  And when I say loose, I mean loose.  It is really more like a vague list that gives me at least some idea of what's ahead.  Along the way, things change, characters come alive, new ones walk on, which is all part of the fun.  And I revise my list when it is apparent that things aren't going to go the way I think they are.  But then I write a new list.  This keeps me on track. 

Then there are blog posts, which have always been more free-flowing for me.  Usually, I'm pretty good at keeping myself on track, but sometimes I start off in one place and end up in another, quite unexpectedly.  This post is an example–I started off wanting to ask what your burning questions are, and then got sidetracked by talking about where the term came from….and that led into a discussion of outlining vs. not.

Ah well, it is Monday and I slept late.

But here's the original Burning Question part.  I am wondering what yours are.  Truly and all.  Do you have questions, concerns, or ideas about writing?  About the writing life?  About a writing career?  Or maybe you have some questions about creativity?  Motivation? Inspiration?  Getting your butt to the computer regularly?

Whatever your questions are, I want to know them.  I'll do my best to answer them in posts, or even an email if that seems more appropriate.

So bring 'em on, lay them on me…anything, anything at all.    Comment away!

Photo by xurble, found on Everystockphoto, my fave, and used under Creative Commons 2.5 license.

Give It All Up, Get It All Back

Yesterday I had jury duty.Justice

I resisted, mightily.

Perhaps it is because I'm called to serve on jury duty more than anybody else on this planet.  This was my third time, and I've gotten excused from service several times before, when my children were little.  I know people who have never gotten a summons, ever. So I was a bit taken aback when I was called yet again.

I told myself that I was too busy.  I had a trip to Nashville planned.  I'm self-employed and can't afford to take a day off.  Yada, yada, yada.  I called the number on the summons and was told I could reschedule, so I did.  Then called again and rescheduled once more.

Finally, the day came.  I had to be in the jury room by 8 AM and if there's one thing I hate, it is having my morning routine of writing and introspection interrupted.  But off I went to the courthouse,clutching  my bag full of manuscripts to read and work to catch up on.

The county really makes jury duty as painless as possible.  You only have to serve for one day, or one trial, whichever is longest.  And there's a large room full of chairs to hang out in, with big-screen TVs, vending machines, books, newspapers, and magazines galore.  I always head straight to the back, where there are tables and chairs.  I found me a good spot and staked my claim to it.

It is tradition for one of the judges to come down and talk to the jurors, and she did, reminding us that the founding fathers of this country thought so highly of the right to a jury trial that they died for it.  This made me feel highly virtuous for a few moments.  Then she talked about how for women, jury duty is the only compulsory service we must give to our country.  By then I was preening, so proud was I.  But when she finished her talk and pressed the button for the cheesy video, I was deflated once again.  I gave up my precious writing time to watch a bunch of yahoos talk about how great it is to be on jury duty?

Once the video was finished, we were left to our own devices until such time as a jury pool would be convened.   I looked around at all the people who had brought their laptops and wondered why on earth I hadn't brought mine.  Even when I remembered that I had made a conscious decision to use this day to get reading done and stay away from my computer, I pouted.  I wanted my computer, wanted to write a blog post, work on my novel, tweet away the day (which I did from my Iphone anyway, but never mind).

I pulled out the manuscripts I had to read, but soon was interrupted by a loud burp.  A plump gray-haired woman in a polka-dot blouse was drinking Coke and apparently it made her gaseous.   It also didn't do much to keep her awake, because soon she was curled at one end of the couch beside me, feet propped on a chair from my table, snoring loudly.  Which was a festive counterpart to the counter-culture type (orange shirt, hair in a pony-tail) who sat at the other end of the couch, head thrown back, mouth open, snoring even louder than the woman.

I muttered under my breath and pondered dark thoughts, like I wouldn't want either of them to serve on my trial, as I tried to read.  Then I looked around at all the people with their computers and started feeling bad about that again.  I needed my computer desperately.  What was I thinking, leaving it at home?  I could be getting so much done.

I started obsessing about what would happen if I got on a trial.  I thought about my Friday, the plans I had for finishing projects, the appointment I had.  I started figuring out options for making sure I wasn't chosen for a trial.  My daughter told me to tell them I loved guns.  A friend on Twitter told me to tell the judge I had diarrhea.  Another friend told me just to say I'm a writer, that that gets them every time–attorneys don't want free thinkers.  So I pondered all this and then my brain looped back to how horrible, how utterly awful it would be if I had to serve on a trial and take another one of my precious days. Because, you know, I am important.  I am a writer with things to do, brilliant words to commit to the page.

And then, something happened.  Either I got sick of listening to this endless drivel in my brain, or my brain got tired of providing it to me.  I sat back and realized that no matter what, it would all be okay.  If I got called for a trial, I'd work late, or work on the weekends to get things done.  I'd rearrange my appointment.  All would be well.  This was only a very short time out of my life and it was just fine.

Ah, the sweet release of letting go.  I went back to my reading and finished two manuscripts in rapid time–for such is the power of focus.  I had a thought about a new novel I'm fooling around with and wrote three pages on the legal pad I'd brought.  I was so wrapped up in my work that it was a surprise when I looked up from it to see the gray-haired burping lady gazing at me.

"Have they called anybody yet?"

"No, they haven't," I answered.  And I realized that it was nearly 10:30, and every other time I'd been on jury duty, several groups of potential jurors had been called by then. 

A few minutes later, the jury clerk addressed us from the podium at the head of the room.  All eight trials slated for that day had been resolved in one way or another, she said.  They wouldn't be needing any jurors that day.  We were free to go.

The stunned silence that ensued was quickly followed by a rush to the door, as if everyone was thinking the same thing–let's get out of here before they change their minds.

And so I was home by noon, and I had time to go grocery shopping, get some writing done, write a blog post, take a walk.  And as I walked and thought about my day, the thing that stood out in my mind was the moment of letting go.  The minute I quit resisting and accepted the situation as it was, I got everything I wanted–the chance to focus on my work, the opportunity to leave early and go home. 

Give it all up, get it all back.  I first heard that in a book written by Alan Cohen, and I often quote it in my Writing Abundance workshops.  And yet, every time I am shown the power of letting go, I marvel anew at what an amazing tool it is.

The same rules hold true in writing: put it all on the page every time you go to it.  Don't hold back.  Give it all up. 

I promise, you'll get it all back, and then some. 


Photo by navets, found on everystockphoto, used under Creative Commons 2.5 license.

On Not Having Time to Paint

Everystockphoto_203384_m
For Christmas, I asked for and got paints.  I got acrylic paints, canvases, a cool wooden box to put the paints in, paintbrushes, one of those round plastic palettes, a couple books on painting.  Just looking at all these art supplies makes me tingle with anticipation.

I've been feeling the urge to paint for awhile now, and so getting all this for Christmas made me really happy.  After the rush of the holiday was over, the tree down, the decorations out of the way, I took over an extra table in the guest room for my art.  I arranged all my paints, found an old mug to stick the paintbrushes in, set the books out for easy reference.  The art supplies look good there, all ready to use.

And so far all they are doing is looking good.

Because I haven't touched them.

Not once.

My daughter actually made a semi-snide reference to the fact that I wanted the art supplies so bad and hadn't yet used them. 

"I was gone in Nashville for a week and a half," I pointed out to her.

She backed down quickly and I felt pleased with myself for being right, and having such a good excuse for not having spent any time with my paints.  But later, when I was opening the shades in the guest room so Lieutenant, one of my new cats, could sit in the window, and look out my eye fell on the paints.  And I realized that being out of town was just an excuse.

  • I have other excuses for not painting, too.  They include:
  • I have to get my messy office organized first
  • I have to work
  • I have to watch American Idol
  • I have to go see a movie with my friend Paula
  • I have to go out to dinner
  • I have to go to Eugene

Good excuses, all.  But the fact remains that they are just excuses, and there is one real reason why I've not yet gotten out the paints.

  • It is because I am scared.  And because I am scared, here are some of the things I tell myself:
  • I'm not a painter
  • I don't know how to paint
  • I won't be good enough
  • It won't be right
  • I won't be perfect
  • I don't know what to do first
  • Someone might see me doing it and expect me to be good

Dumb, stupid excuses all.  And because I am a person who tends to think that everything that happens in my life has meaning, I am not only looking deeply at my resistance to painting, but also likening it to writing.  It gives me renewed empathy for the writers that I coach, for those of you who desire so strongly to put words on the page, for everyone who hesitates before committing pen to paper. 

Because my experience with not paint makes me empathize with everyone who is not writing.  So let's make a deal, shall we?  I'll paint if you write.  Okay?  Easy.  We can do it.  I know we can. 

***Besides writing, my favorite thing to do is coach creatives to become prolific and prosperous writers.  I'm working on getting my coaching page up, but in the meantime, if you're interested in hiring me, just email me.  You'll find the address at the top left of this page.

Taking a Break

Last weekend, I left home for a night to head south to Eugene, home of my alma mater, the University of Oregon (Go, Ducks!).Waterslide-watershoot-oregon-2580145-l

This may shock you–it shocked me–but I didn't even turn on my computer the entire time I was gone.   And I had a blast.   We ate at Rennie's and the Glenwood, two old favorites, stayed at the New Oregon motel, shopped at the U of O bookstore and the wonderful local yarn shop, walked along both sides of the Willamette river, and went to a surprise birthday party at fabulous house.  All in 24 hours.

I came home refreshed and with a slightly different outlook on life, which is what getting away will do for you.  Yet I don't do this often enough.  Yes, I travel a lot, mostly to Nashville and LA, but that is always at least partially for work.  Heading out for a night or two nights just for fun is an entirely different animal, and one I like. 

So, this may be as shocking as not turning on my computer for 24 hours, but now I'm going to advocate the benefits of taking a break from your writing.  And by taking a break, I mean taking a break break, like a mini get-away, or an afternoon off to wander by the lake.  Maybe you could think of it as an extended Artist's Date, the activity Julia Cameron urges everyone to partake in. 

Whether you decide to go for a big break or a small break, some time off can have a salutary effect on your brain, and since writing comes from the brain, by extension a break can have a great impact on your work.  So, herewith, my list of Reasons Why You Should Take a Break:

Because it clears your mind.  And, I don't know about you, but mine usually needs clearing, bad.  I get into this one-with-the-computer mentality wherein I sit and work for hours.  As part of my new program to take breaks more often, I'm also going to take mini-breaks, and get up from my desk every half hour.

Because it opens new vistas.  Just seeing different stuff is good for the brain.  And it's great for writing, because the writing muscle strengthens with new input.

Because it reminds you of what is important.  Like spending time with family and friends and gazing at the river.  Having a beer with lunch and finding fountain pens–a whole amazing, lovely set of them–at the bookstore.   Looking for nutrias in the Millrace and hanging out in the motel room just because it is fun to be there.

Because it refills the well.  Come back to writing after taking a break and suddenly the words fly across the page.  Why?  Because you've refilled the well, which easily gets depleted if all you do is pull from it.  Once in a while, you need to put stuff back in.

Because sometimes we just need to be, not always do.  Enough said.

Because it energizes you and makes you eager to get back to your life.  The best thing about leaving is coming home, right?  And even better to come home full of ideas and energy.  And with fountain pens.

What are your favorite ways to take breaks from writing?

***Photo by d70focus, courtesy of Flickr, via Everystockphoto, my go-to place for pix.

Whole Abundance

Grocery_store_food_267541_l A new Whole Foods store opened about 10 blocks from my house and so far this week I've shopped there ever day.

I love everything about this store.  I love driving up into the parking garage, grabbing a little green wire cart, and taking the elevator down into the store.  I love wandering the aisles and looking at all the unfamiliar brands.  I love cruising past the bakery, checking out the petite sweets, stopping at prepared foods and buying grilled veggies and spinach-rice cakes, hitting the meat counter in the back for an entree for dinner.

The funny thing is, Portland has a plethora of wonderful natural food stores, some funky, others just as lush as Whole Foods.  New Seasons, for instance, is a home-grown version of Whole Foods.  I enjoy shopping there, I do.  I believe in choosing the local option whenever possible.  And I agree with the business policies of New Seasons, as well as the way they treat their employees.  Whereas I think the CEO of Whole Foods is a jerk and don't agree with his policies.

But I love shopping at his store beyond all reason.  Why?  Because, for whatever reason, shopping at Whole Foods makes me feel abundant.  I like that feeling.  I want to feel abundant in every area of my life–financial, relationships, family, career, writing–except for my physical body, because, well, abundance does have a tendency to turn to fat.

I talk a lot about abundance in the workshops I do.  (Um, that's probably a good thing seeing as how they are titled, Writing Abundance.) Finding abundance in the form of a prolific and prosperous writing practice is what I guide people to do, through workshops, coaching, and this blog. 

So abundance is a hot topic for me, and I've learned that abundance is as much a feeling as anything.  When I find something that makes me feel abundant, I'm all about soaking it in, reveling it it, letting that feeling surround and energize me. 

Hence my current love affair with Whole Foods.  Like all good love stories, I have no idea why it attracts me so, since love is generally blind, but I'm going with the feeling.  However, when I'm not cruising the aisles like a small child in a toy store, or planning my next trip there, I've thought a bit about what makes me feel abundant in writing.

There's the obvious–racking up a good daily word count makes me feel abundant in writing.  But beyond the actual act of writing, what makes you feel abundant?  For me it's a stack of yellow legal pads, a couple of Moleskines, and a package of brand new pens (my current favorite being the Pentel Ener-Gel, but it will change next month). 

None of which are available, by the way, at Whole Foods.  Perhaps it is time to resume my long relationship with Fred Meyer.

What tools make you feel abundant in your writing?

A Writer’s Travels

I'm leaving again tomorrow, this time for Nashville.  Night-104212-m

I travel a lot, sometimes a lot lot.  The last six months I have traveled a lot lot.  In August I was in LA, September in Nashville, October in New Mexico (a real vacation, who knew people did that?), November in LA again and December in Nashville.  That was not so very long ago, and now I'm heading back.

I have good reason to go, and I'm excited about the trip.  First up is the Writer's Loft orientation, a two-day affair for writers.  I'll be presenting my Writing Abundance workshop on Friday afternoon and it is open to the public, but if you are interested, hurry quick because we are filling up.  After the Writer's Loft, I am starting research for a new ghostwriting project.  I bought me a new digital voice recorder and I'm eager to get going. It is about a cat–what could be better?  Plus I'm meeting with two coaching clients–so far.  And I have tons of friends in Nashville who always get me into interesting things, like this time I'm going to visit a prison to meet a friend of a friend. 

I tell ya, this stuff doesn't happen to me in Portland, which is one reason I love travel so much.

But it is also hard.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining.  I love my life and I love traveling.  It is just that I get stressed out thinking about the logistics.  You know–getting to the airport on time, making connections, picking up the rental car, like that.  When, really, I rarely have trouble with logistics and if I do, it all seems to sort itself out (on my last trip home from Nashville, I just missed my connecting flight in Denver but got to have dinner with a wonderful fellow traveler who was also stranded).

And I worry that the orientation will be satisfying, that people will like my workshop, that the research will go well, that I'll be able to take good care of the dogs who live in the house I'm housesitting…and while I'm at it, I worry that I haven't heard from the agent who is reading my book, and that my blog traffic will go down when I'm not able to post as often while I'm gone, and that I've got manuscripts to read, and that my cats will miss me and be sad while I'm gone, to say nothing of my family.  Oh wait, never mind, they are all busy with their own lives that don't center around me, I forgot.

But you get the idea.  Sometimes I start worrying so much that I wonder why I do this, why I set myself up for trips that entail so much responsibility and so many things that could go wrong.  And then I realize that if I didn't do it, I'd be bored with myself.  If I didn't set myself up for challenges, I'd probably never leave the house.  And, despite the fact that I long for a couple of months at home without rushing off again, the truth is I love traveling and I most especially love traveling to Nashville. And any crises I have to endure along the way will be worth it in the end.

So off I go again.  

If you are in the Nashville area, come see me at the Loft this Friday and Saturday or email me and we'll set something up, okay?  And meanwhile, if anyone wants to chime in on their own travel worries, feel free.  Other people get stressed about travel, don't they?  Don't they?